Note: this is a guest post by Phillip C. Vaden, a lawyer from Fort Worth, Texas, and brother of the regular author of this blog.
I recently visited the official Donald Trump for president website. As I perused the website I notice a button titled "positions," and I clicked. I was confronted with one item under the "positions" link: immigration. Le Donald doesn't even pretend to have a "position" on taxes, abortion, energy, ISIS, the Iran Nuclear Deal, the second amendment--simply name an issue, any issue other than immigration, and le Donald does not hold a position that he is willing to commit to writing.
If you visit a serious candidate’s website they will have taken positions on all of the major issues. Take Marco Rubio, for example, you will find 19 different clearly defined positions on foreign and domestic issues.
Let's review le Donald's immigration "positions."
Build the Wall!
Great! Let's do that. How much will it cost? What will the wall be made of? Another question, considering that most illegal immigrants are overstays that legally crossed into the country and never leave, how will a wall--regardless of its height--keep "them" out?
Le Donald proposes increasing fees on border crossing cards to keep “them” out. By how much will the fees increase? The "terrific wall of Trump" is not really a plan insofar as he offers zero specifics on what the wall will look like, how long it will take to build, how much it will cost, how much the increased fees will be, whether the wall will be gilded, etc.
Make Mexico pay for the wall!
Excellent idea! How? Will Trump just chopper to Mexico city and say "el presidente, I’ll need a check for $150 billion dollars to build a wall to keep your citizens out of my country--or else." or else what? Is Trump prepared to go to war with Mexico in order to force them to pay for the wall? Apparently, his solution is to do the following:
(i) impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages;
(ii) increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats;
(iii) increase fees on all border crossing cards;
(iv) increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico; and
(v) increase fees at ports of entry to the united states from Mexico.
Donald fails to explain how he intends to “impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages.” Will he exponentially expand the size of the federal government in order to have investigators review every financial transaction from the united states to Mexico? If there are 12 million illegal immigrants in the country, how does the federal government review all of those bank transfers? How does the federal government separate the transfers sent by illegal immigrants from those sent by us citizens? How many new federal employees would be required for such a task? How many lawsuits would emanate from wrongfully impounded money? After all, if the government mistakenly impounds an American citizen’s money, then it is a taking under the fifth amendment. Or does le Donald merely intend to impound only transfers of money from people with the last name Rodriguez or Ramos?
This idea is only sound in two planes of existence: (1) a fantasy world where illegal immigrants notify the federal government prior to sending money to relatives or friends in Mexico and (2) a dystopia in which hundreds of thousands of new federal bureaucrats investigate every electronic fund transfer leaving the united states.
As for subsections (ii)-(v), implementation would actually be relatively easy, but at what cost? Mexico would simply return the favor by increasing fees, but likely at higher rates--after all we have more money. Wouldn’t this tit-for-tat fee raising result in the destruction of NAFTA?
I know what le Donald’s followers are thinking: that would be awesome! NAFTA’s terrible for America, right? Wrong. For 30 of the 50 states, Mexico and Canada are the first or second largest export market. U.S. manufacturing exports have increased 258% since NAFTA was enacted. If that doesn’t do it for you, then ask yourself is the economy better or worse now than it was in 1994? If you answered anything other than “better” you are (likely) a hopeless case.
Le Donald’s next great idea is to triple the number of ice officers. Ice currently has about 20,000 employees with a budget of about $5 billion, under le Donald’s super-terrific triple-the-workforce magic we get to about 60,000 employees and a budget of $15 billion dollars. If the Obama administration has taught us anything it’s that tens of thousands of new government works is great for sustainable economic growth. Le Donald's chum Hillary Clinton would love this plan, after all it's not businesses that create jobs, it’s the government.
Beyond this idea being a classically democrat idea (i.e. "there's a problem! I know, throw money we borrow from china at it and it will surely go away!"), how does this massive expansion of government reduce the national debt? How does it reduce the size of the federal government? Le Donald claims that this new army of federal soldiers would be funded by “eliminating tax credit payments to illegal immigrants.” This statement is incredibly misleading because it intimates that tax credits are currently paid to illegal immigrants on purpose and in the absence of fraud. The article cited in le Donald’s “position” discusses eliminating fraud in the tax credit payment system. The fraud that is perpetrated certainly needs to be addressed, but the nefarious illegal immigrants, that Trumptastics (Trumpmanics? Trump-a-dumps?) Hate so very much, are not necessarily the primary beneficiaries of the fraud.
Nationwide e-verify, mandatory return of all criminal aliens, detention—not catch-and-release, defunding sanctuary cities, enhancing penalties for overstays—these are all pretty good positions. Le Donald hasn’t really fleshed these out, but at least he’s taking a stand on something within the realm of possibility.
Cooperate with local gang task forces. As a Texan, I can tell you that Texans are not going to be “pumped” about the idea of having federal law enforcement tag along for every gang raid—states handle policing of intrastate matters. If the gang is running drugs across state lines, then the FBI will likely be there. There's a theme development here, isn't there? Le Donald’s plan, again, is to expand the power and reach of the federal government.
End of birthright citizenship. This, le Donald declares, is a wise policy because “by a 2:1 margin, voters say it’s the wrong policy” and also because Harry Reid (not a joke) thinks that it’s a good idea. So, I guess the plan is to make sure that, before we stamp “American” on a newborn baby, we need to have a federal official check the parents' “papers” to see that they’re in order.
Increase prevailing wage for H-1B visas—again, this isn’t a terrible idea and it doesn’t require legions of federal employees, billions of dollars, and a police state.
As for the “hire American workers first” idea, there’s nothing wrong with this idea either, but it assumes that employers universally are uninterested in hiring Americans. I am aware of one businessman that is, seemingly, entirely uninterested in hiring an all-American workforce—le Donald himself. He could, with a one-sentence email, hire hundreds (potentially thousands) of American workers, but I guess he’s too busy tweeting about Megyn Kelly to provide hundreds or thousands of jobs to the American unemployed.
End welfare abuse by making immigrants certify they can pay for their own housing, healthcare, and other needs before coming to the U.S. if immigrants could pay for these things they likely wouldn’t be coming to the land of opportunity. People don’t leave their country of origin for laughs. They leave because their country of origin is (often) a terrible piece of garbage and they want something better for themselves and their progeny.
J-1 visa elimination--fine, but don’t expect hordes of inner city youth to line up to apply for jobs. If the solution to inner-city problems were that easy it would be solved already. The j-1 visa program did not destroy jobs and character in the inner city, therefore eliminating j-1 visas stands no chance of “helping” inner-city youth. Le Donald presents zero evidence that j-1 visas and inner-city youth employment are connected in any way.
Refugee program for American children—what? So, what Trump is suggesting here is, essentially, a massive expansion of section 8 housing. That means incredible growth of the federal welfare state. I think le Donald must have been drinking Bernie sanders’ Kool-Aid when he came up with this “super-star” idea. Expanding the welfare state does nothing to address America’s problems, and in fact will likely just make them far, far worse.
Immigration moderation—again we are in a fairytale land where American workers are itching, just itching, to head out to the fields and harvest crops and climb up on roofs during 110 degree days and work for ten hours. This is nonsense. If le Donald believed that this would work, then why hasn't he done this at his own companies? If American workers are so “terrific,” then why doesn’t he hire American workers first? I haven't witnessed this level of hypocrisy since le Donald's pals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama paid so much lip service to the “equal pay for equal work” movement while failing to pay their own female staff the same as their male counterparts.
Le Donald’s immigration “positions” are largely based on the expansion of federal government power and spending—two things that are diametrically opposed by any actual conservative. His fantastical vision of American is a police state where the federal government is larger and more intrusive than it has ever been.
If you feel slighted by illegal immigration now, just wait until you sacrifice your freedom in a failed attempt to stop it. As long as America offers opportunity people will come here and flee places that don't.
In the end, reality and individual freedom are serious impediments to le Donald’s very unserious “positions.”
 Unless of course you answered, “i don’t know, I wasn’t alive in 1994” or, alternatively, “I was only six in 1994,” in which case you can take a look at the Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA) today vs. The DJIA high in 1994—DJIA in 1994 hit the 3,900 mark—it currently sits at 16,600. The per capita gdp was $27,776.81 in 1994, it stood at $54,629.50 in 2014.
Unless otherwise stated, these are the opinions of RT Vaden.